Frugal Boot Camp: What I Learned from Pinterest Last Weekend

Who doesn't love Pinterest?  I know I enjoy it, though I did hear a recent pundit that said it was just hoarding online.  Well maybe it is.  I edit my boards quite often because I have a real horror of having thousands and thousands of pins.  How on earth would I ever find what I'm looking for once more?

I have been rather strict with myself.  I generally visit Pinterest only on one week night if I'm terribly bored and every Saturday afternoon.  It's my 'mindless wandering' sort of time and a nice break in the usual week.  I've always 'worked' a little on Pinterest though, seeking and reading countless frugal posts as well as looking for outfit, home décor and recipe ideas to pin to my boards.  This weekend I took notes as I read a few posts and I thought I'd share the ideas here with you, since it truly was all part of my Frugal Boot Camp exercises.

Now I did get all of this from Pinterest.  I just failed to notate what websites these belonged to and I didn't pin the posts so I can go back to find them without doing a whole lot more work than writing, so I apologize.  But I will be sure next time to note down a link to each pin so you all can go examine them for yourself.  I unearthed my bit of treasure but perhaps you'd find still more than I did.

The first post I took notes on was about ways to save without feeling the pinch.  I was surprised at some of the suggestions.  They were good!

#1 Put $20 in an envelope every week.  In 50 weeks you'll have $1,000.   Golly!  This is a good idea.  Can I manage a $20 savings each week?  I'll warrant you I can if I look hard enough.  There's a place to trim, a place to tweak and a place I can go without purchasing an item that will soon add to $20 and be fairly painless, I think.  I'm thinking this looks like a great way to save for a vacation myself and I mean to start incorporating it this next week.  And suppose I fail but manage $10 a week from this and that?  That's still a tidy sum come year's end isn't it?  Yes, I shall be doing this little bit of savings.

#2 Set up an auto transfer to savings each pay period.  No surprise, but always worth mentioning to those who haven't done it yet.  John's been doing this for a number of years and it adds up, especially if you forget about it.  And it adds up quicker than you'd think, too.

#3 Create a spend/save match.  Another genius idea.  The author suggested that you choose one item that you purchase routinely and each time you spend in that area, you match it with a deposit into your savings account.  Say you have fast food three times a week, or you brunch with friends on the weekend.  Then go on and have your lunch but put an equal amount into savings.  I'll warrant that many could curb the eating out and save the amount not spent, but that's just my thinking.  It's not meant to curb your spending but to be a sort of offset to it, if you see what I mean.  I think it's a great idea and I will be looking into my own purchasing habits to see where I might do this.  I've all but given up flowers this season but come fall when I purchase them again, it might be a spend/save match possibility. 

The second Pin to catch my attention had to do with building  a grocery stock pile.  Good suggestions in this one and some of them I've seen repeatedly in other blogs so I know they not only work but are valid suggestions.

#1  Start slow and small, $5-$10 per week, buying ONLY what is on a very good sale (not regular sale price).  Skip spending if nothing is an excellent buy and save the money until the next week when you can use it to boost any purchases made then.  **Susie this might be something you could do.  It would give you the satisfaction of a tidy but small builtup pantry and satisfy your husband's thought that you don't need so much of a stock pile...

#2  Consider this:  IS IT FREE?  Then get it. 

#3 Ask these questions: 
Do I have money in the budget to buy it? I am guilty, guilty, guilty of spending over my budget because something is on sale for a good price.  If it were a great price, reduced to half or less, then yes I should buy it at that rock bottom price, but if it is a routine sale price (and we know what a routine sale price is!) then skip it if you're already at budget!!  I really need to force this one down my throat.
Do I have space to store it?
Will I be able to use it before it spoils?  I learned to start checking expiration dates after I had sort of built up my stock pile.  There's nothing quite so frustrating as finding you've thirteen cans of pineapple all expiring on the very same day, ten days away, unless it's the fact that you've four cans of beets doing the same and you eat beets perhaps once every two months.
Is it something I regularly use? The exception here is back to #2.  If it's free, get it.  Try it.  Pass it along to someone else if you're dead certain you won't eat it or like it.  Free is FREE is free.  A sale on artichoke hearts is not a great deal if you've never in your life eaten them.  Now is not the time to buy a case lot.  Take my word for it. 
If answer to last question is NO, can I find a use for it? A good example here is substituting all purpose flour for self-rising.  I routinely buy all purpose flour now but at one point I bought only self-rising, until I came across a rock bottom sale at Target that was too good to bypass. I bought all they had, plus a can of baking powder and still came in at a very low price on the flour.  Buying canned beans (the sort you'd normally buy dry) is another example.  If you always bought them in bulk but found cans for a very low price (remember the energy savings is already built in), then I'd certainly stock up on canned beans rather than buying them in bulk.

Saving on groceries is usually our number one goal besides setting money aside each month isn't it?  Here's a bit of advice I should follow more closely:

Sign up for a blog deals site and reap the rewards of someone else doing the research about coupons, sales, etc.  There's someone blogging about your area or state's most popular stores, I promise you. Find the pages on Facebook, blogs, apps and USE THEM.

These last three Pins all dealt with No Spend exercises.  Something I trained myself to do a long time ago when we had a bevy of bills and I couldn't seem to keep my spending under control.  I could have used a few of these tips way back then.  I'm paying attention now because I still occasionally have a no spend time.

No Spend Day, Week or Month
#1.  Be prepared.  Go on and purchase the milk, eggs etc. you're going to need to get through this cycle.  Any spending besides an emergency is a sort of license to either quit or mostly ignore the challenge of not spending.
#2. Determine how long the exercise is to last.
#3.  Get creative to avoid spending.  I did that this week when I determined I would not be spending another bit of money on groceries until this coming weekend when we have company coming in.  We are nearly out of fruit but I have loads of canned fruits on hand.  I picked up a loaf of bread this morning and discovered it had mold on a couple of slices.  I had to throw it away (John is very very allergic to penicillin and I won't even chance it with bread mold around him!).  After talking it over with John, we agreed that we'd just stretch what bread we do have on hand at present and I'll pick up more when I'm out on Friday, along with the two items I need for the weekend company.  I was creative today by scrounging through the freezer and finding some sandwich thins Bess bought that had gotten lost in the back of the freezer shelf.
#4.  Reassess your wants and needs. See above remarks about bread and fruit.  Sure I want fresh peaches but we have foods enough to manage fine without them.
#5.  See the end result.   Usually this would be savings built up or a debt paid off.  For me the end result is that I will have grocery money for the next pay period instead of over spending still further and having NONE.  I know too well the end results of continually overspending in this area and I'm determined to bring myself to heel on this discipline. 

A second blogger posted about no spend time periods:
#1.  Leave your wallet behind.   When I went through that financial period where I overspent until I'd sucked the life from our checking account years ago, I began to leave my checkbook (and later my debit/credit) cards behind when I left the house.  It made all the difference in the world!  You can't spend if you don't have it with you.  And if you're using the cash system, then leave the cash behind, too.  At the time I carried a cell phone and a quarter in case the battery died in the phone (remember pay phones?  Lordy, I feel old!)  If you're running out to buy milk, then take along just enough money for milk and nothing more.  I learned that one the hard way, too.

#2.  Eat from your pantry and freezer and cupboards.

#3.  Use what you have.   Part of my mantra this's amazing all I've been able to accomplish this year just using what I have and most of it looks pretty darn nice if I do say so.

#4.  Find free entertainment.  The hospital in the next county has routine free movie nights each week in the summer.  All you need to do is take along your chair, mosquito repellent and a thermal cup of cold water.  There is almost always something going on free in larger towns and sometimes in the smallest ones, too.  Look at local business websites, read the community page in your local paper.  Go on a picnic.

#5.  Stay busy.  Boredom creates more spending than being busy ever will.

#6.  Remember:  It's only a season.  There's a great deal of satisfaction when you complete a no spend goal such as this, and I mean that.  Be sure you start with clearly defined start and stop dates and do all you can to see it through.

A final Pinterest post offered up these three suggestions that I thought were spot on:

#1.  If you're in this for a longer period, then set up an envelope system for gasoline and grocery needs.  It's a cinch, if you're going for a month, that you'll need a way to cover your milk needs or gasoline for the car.  That would be routine use of gasoline by the way.  Now's not the time to suddenly plan a long road trip.

#2.  Agree to send windfall amounts straight to savings accounts and determine after the challenge how you'll use those  blessing funds.

#3.  Make a wish list.  As the week or month stretches on, make out a list of things you'd like to purchase once you're done with the challenge.  These are items that you might normally buy on impulse.  I think it should be interesting to see just how many of these 'wishes' end up being scratched off at the end of the challenge period.

And that's it, all of my gleanings from Pinterest for Frugal Boot Camp this past weekend.  Hope some of these tips are helpful to you. 


Lana said...

Wonderful list!

Way back like 34 years ago we saved all our quarters for going to the movies. We had a dollar theater in town and it was amazing how often we got to go. It was a huge treat to sit in the cool theater since we did not have air conditioning at home at the time.

Sparkiedoll said... I've always liked this idea for savings but haven't done it yet. I do have'Save the Change' linked to my main bank account. All the 'odd' amounts of money are automatically shifted into my savings account and it does add up. I've recently decided to take a work break for health reasons so am very grateful for all the ideas you share. Reading your blog is also helping me adjust to being at home full time. It's quite different but I'm enjoying the change of pace and am surprised at how much less money I spend now that I'm not out and about on a daily basis. Kind regards, Rose (UK)

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Thank you for posting these wonderful tips. Hope your having a nice week.

Rhonda said...

Hi Terri, I am enjoying your frugal bootcamp series 👍

Mimi said...

Hi Terri...what a great post this is. Yes certainly Pinterest can be a little like hoarding online! These are wonderful tips. Thankyou so much. I particularly like the one about putting a $20 bill in an envelope each week. So simple. Mimi xxx

Anonymous said...

I still like putting any extra $ you can along with your usual house payment. Even $5.00. Telling them to put that $ towards the principal for your house. Check and make sure that is how that extra money is recorded though..I have had them put it on interest at first even though I had marked it to go towards the principal. I called and they corrected it, but keep a check. Your house will get paid for faster. As the principal is lowered you end up paying less interest. It really helps. We paid off our house in half the time and could have done it earlier but I did not do it for the first many years. There is another way to do this by making an extra payment. I can;t remember how that works. I think you talked about this method Terri.
This is an old hint but it made such a difference to us to not have a house payment anymore! :)

Again thanks for all the information you are passing along to us. I love it!! It would help us all if we still got the interest on our bank accounts our parents used to get!! I heard in some European countries the interest now is negative so you LOOSE $ each month on your bank accounts!!! Least we are not there yet!! :) Oh Terri I am doing the bananas in the bag method now...A big thanks for that one!! Sarah

Lana said...

If anyone sees this would you please pray. A few weeks ago I mentioned looking at a house and wanting it so bad. The seller tried too start a bidding war between us and another contract and since ours had expired we pulled it and walked away, choosing not to play the sellers game. I just got a call from the realtor that the contract fell through and we can have the house. Please pray that we will have wisdom to know if this is indeed where we are to buy. And y'all I just feel like gloating and it is just wrong.

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